November 18, 2016

A focus on equity in contracting

In the most recent round of grants, the application for Housing Opportunities portfolio funding posed a new question to applicants seeking capital support: What is your goal on this project for Minority-Owned, Women-Owned or Emerging Small Business participation? We have asked the question before but not consistently or as part of an application.

The responses were surprising.

Meyer has not set any particular bar for equity in contracting. That’s partly because we understand that contracting opportunities may not look the same in Grants Pass as they do in Gearhart or Gresham. But we do ask all capital applicants to consider their contracting policies and set a project target.

The nine capital projects funded in this latest batch all reflect a commitment to use minority-owned, women-owned or emerging small businesses for between 10 percent and 50 percent of their contract dollars. And where a project needed help in navigating minority-owned, women-owned or emerging small business contracting, Meyer added technical assistance support from expert consultants, Metropolitan Contractor Improvement Partnership (MCIP).  

We were especially pleased to see MCIP receive an investment from the Building Community portfolio to expand its work. This will involve analyzing barriers to hiring minority contractors; providing training to industry partners; identifying policy improvements to ensure fairness in procurement; increasing the size and visibility of minority-owned, women-owned or emerging small businesses; and providing more one-on-one mentoring and capacity building services to these firms.

Meyer is also considering sponsoring training or learning groups focused on how to start or enhance minority-owned, women-owned or emerging small business contracting in nonprofits, with a focus on housing developers. What do you think? Would you be interested in attending such a training? If so, please enter your information in this google form.

For additional information on minority-owned, women-owned or emerging small business contracting for your organization, check out these resources: